One of Africa's most highly rated contemporary music performers, Ghanaian, Stonebwoy who has just released his fourth album is also a socially conscious star who champions causes like sanitation which has never been more relevant than during the current Covid- 19 pandemic.
During an online conversation with BDLife about his new album “Anloga Junction” the Ghanaian artiste revealed that he has been leveraging on his music and his position as Global Ambassador for Sanitation in Ghana to create awareness about the practice of washing hands to keep infection from the virus at bay.
“I have been using my platforms to encourage people to maintain hygiene because some of the information that is key to protecting oneself from this disease has not been understood in some parts of Africa,” he said.
Stonebwoy whose real name is Livingstone Etse Satekia, coined the name Afro-dancehall when he started his career almost a decade ago, to describe a style that combines classic highlife and Afrobeat with reggae and dancehall.
He explains that the roots of Jamaican music can be traced to Africa but that African artists have the advantage of singing in a diversity of their languages, hence the richer melodies from the continent.
His first album three albums “Grade 1” (2012), “Necessary Evil” (2014) and “Epistles of Mama” in 2017, laid the foundation for his growth as an artiste and established his credentials worldwide. Winning the BET Award for Best International Act in 2015 earned him respect in the music industry raising his profile among the very best of the current generation of African performers.
“From that point on I was able to tour globally and tear down some of the barriers that may have prevented me from flourishing as an artist,” he says.
The title of his new album is taken from the name of home city in Ghana. “I named the album as such because my African inspiration and influence and the experience from the rest of the world meet at a creative point as expressed on this album.”
The album contains 15 songs, some of which are up to four years old like “Nkuto” featuring the Ghanaian highlife and reggae artist, Kojo Antwi while most of the others are fresh recordings.
"We have put in a lot of time into the making of the album but God's time is the best so there couldn't have been a better time to have the album ready," says Stonebwoy.
The album is packed with collaborations with a diverse group of international acts like American singer, songwriter Keri Hilson, Jamaicans Chivv and Spanker and Jahmiel, Zlatan from Nigeria, South African rapper Nasty C and Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platnumz.
Keri Hilson has paid glowing praise to Stonebwoy for their work together on the song "Nominate".
"I would never have thought in my life that she would be so down to earth and supportive of my music," says Stonebwoy.
They were connected through a friend who met Hilson on a flight and through him she invited Stonebwoy to her studio while he was on tour in the US and a producer was on hand for the collaboration.
"It was amazing because we created the song from scratch, we built this together, put energy and chemistry into the song, it was fun creating the song," he said.
Stonebwoy and Diamond were first put in touch a few years ago, and they had been discussing a collaboration so when the Tanzanian visited Ghana, they got into the studio and worked on the song "Black Madonna".
"The whole of Africa loves the song and I can't wait for the coronavirus to vanish so that I can perform around the continent," he says,
Despite his links with several Kenyan artists like Nyashinski, Khaligraph Jones, Victoria Kimani, he hasn't yet recorded with any of them though there is a song with Sauti Sol that is awaiting release.
Since the release of "Anloga Junction" in April, it has hit a record 11 million streams on Spotify and other online platforms while the video with Keri Hilson has crossed the mark for one million views.
"During these times when most artists thrive on singles and EPs, Stonebwoy says he still respects the culture of albums because that allows him to share a body of work," he says.
As a parting shot, he says, tongue in cheek, that the two top stories in Ghana, at the moment, are the coronavirus pandemic and Stonebwoy's new album.